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GAME: Calgary Flames (38-22-8) at St. Louis Blues (20-36-11).
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.
Alternating wins and losses won't keep the Calgary Flames atop the Northwest Division for long.
The Flames look to get back on the winning track when they continue a seven-game road trip with a matchup against the struggling St. Louis Blues.
Calgary has dropped three of its first four on the trip, and is just 5-5-1 since the Olympic break. The Flames and Colorado Avalanche have been switching places atop the Northwest of late, and just five points separate the top spot from fourth place in the division.
Calgary failed to distance itself from the Avalanche Tuesday, losing 3-1 to the Minnesota Wild.
The Flames played at Minneapolis twice in three days and managed a split only because goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 37 shots in a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Calgary managed just 18 shots in Tuesday's loss, while Minnesota again registered 39 shots against Kiprusoff.
"We had way too many turnovers at their blue line and they strive on their counterattack," said Byron Ritchie, who scored his second goal of the season for Calgary. "It seemed that we relied on Kipper way too much."
After facing the Blues, the Flames conclude their trip at Columbus Friday and Dallas on Sunday.
The Blues have dropped four straight since losing goaltender Curtis Sanford for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The 26-year-old rookie was playing well since the Olympic break, leading all starting goaltenders in the NHL with a 1.43 goals-against average en route to a 3-1-1 record.
St. Louis' goaltenders have allowed 18 goals in those four losses since Sanford's injury, including a 6-0 defeat to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The Blues outshot the Sharks 33-29, but Reinhard Divis allowed six goals and fell to 0-4-0 for the season.
"We had a couple of good chances we couldn't score on," Divis said. "And they took advantage of their chances."
The Blues will also be without defenseman Barret Jackman for the rest of the season after he fractured his jaw in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
St. Louis is on its way to missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1978-79 season. The Blues are nearly 30 points out of the eighth and final berth in the Western Conference, where they are tied with Chicago for the fewest points.
STANDINGS: Flames - 84 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Blues - 51 points, 4th place (tied), 49 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Jarome Iginla, 31 goals and 53 points; Daymond Langkow, 26 assists; Darren McCarty, 111 PIM. Blues - Scott Young, 16 goals and 44 points; Petr Cajanek, 29 assists; Jackman, 156 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 18.3 percent (72 for 394), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (348 for 418), 13th. Blues - Power play: 15.4 percent (66 for 428), 25th. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (323 for 392), 15th.
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (34-18-8, 8 SO, 2.17 GAA); Brian Boucher (4-7-0, 4.16). Blues - Patrick Lalime (4-14-6, 3.67); Divis (0-4-0, 5.00).
SEASON SERIES: Flames, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 2; Blues, 3-1. At Calgary, Alberta, Iginla scored twice and had a spirited fight with Jackman in the victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 14-15-5 on the road; Blues - 11-16-5 at home.